A silhouette rose out of the Tai’e Sword—Mi Li. She was previously dressed in Zu An’s clothes, but now that she had turned into a soul, she had reverted back to the black empress robe she was wearing previously.
Why is she still wearing clothes even when she has turned into a soul? Just who is she guarding against?
Mi Li felt a little displeased upon seeing Zu An’s gaze. She harrumphed coldly and said, “You’re the one who landed me in my current state. So what if I absorb a bit of energy from those evil spirits to heal my soul? You should remember that we’re linked with one another now. You should be praying that my soul remains as healthy as it gets.”
“Yes yes yes, I would love no more than big sis empress to live for tens of thousands of years. It would be even better if you can live for all eternity,” replied Zu An fawningly.
“Haa. Since ancient times, all cultivators, no matter how strong they may be, aren’t able to escape from the fate of eventual declination. True immortalhood is simply too far beyond reach,” remarked Mi Li. Then, she suddenly directed a sharp glare at Zu An and said, “Besides, you obviously have the face of a short-lived brat. What’s the use if I’m the only one who is able to live for a long time?”
“Wait a moment, what do you mean by ‘I have the face of a short-lived brat’?!” protested Zu An angrily.
“That mouth of yours is simply too good at drawing the ire of others. You’re bound to make a lot of enemies in your lifetime, so you’re obviously going to be short-lived,” replied Mi Li.
“As a cultivator, how can I cower in fear before my enemies? In my view, rather than a threat, my enemies are nothing more than a grindstone that pushes me to higher grounds!” said Zu An.
Mi Li was surprised. “I must have been underestimating you. I didn’t expect to hear such words from you.”
Chu Chuyan and turned over to look at Zu An, surprised by his perspective toward this matter.”
Meanwhile, Qiao Xueying was already used to it. Having fought together in the three seals, she had long come to a realization that Zu An was no longer the wastrel son-in-law of the Chu clan whom she had looked down on in the past.
But Zu An suddenly burst into laughter and remarked, “Of course. Someone as cool as me attracts the attention of women no matter where I go.”
“…” Mi Li.
“…” Chu Chuyan.
“…” Qiao Xueying.
Allow me to take back those words I’ve just said. He’s still as thick-skinned as ever.
“Forget it. So that you can at least live a little longer, I’ll give you a reminder here. I’m not the only one who benefited from assimilating the 200,000 evil spirits earlier; the Tai’e Sword has also been greatly nourished too. It has regained its powers to some degree. In the future, you can use its Kingship Domain to exert pressure on your enemies. You’ll be able to fully seal the movements of lower rank cultivators and greatly weaken the strength of stronger opponents,” said Mi Li.
Zu An was delighted. “Doesn’t that mean that I’ll become unrivaled in the future?”
“It isn’t as simple as you think. The Kingship Domain is powerful, but it saps a lot of energy each time it’s activated. I reckon that you’d only be able to activate it once every half a month, so I suggest you reserve this skill for truly desperate moments lest you find yourself without this trump card during moments that really count,” replied Mi Li.
Zu An could accept such a limitation. After all, it wouldn’t make sense for him to use such a powerful skill as and when he pleased. “Ah, you mentioned ‘lower rank cultivators’ and ‘stronger opponents’ earlier. What would count as a lower rank cultivator and what would count as a stronger opponent? I need to know the exact detail so at least I’d have some idea of what I’m able to do.”
“I only know of the prowess of the Tai’e Sword’s Kingship Domain in its peak. Needless to say, it’s still much weaker than it was at its peak, so I don’t really have a gauge for you either. You should test it out for yourself in a battle instead,” replied Mi Li.
“I see…” Zu An was a little disappointed to hear those words, but he decided to think on the bright side instead. It was already good enough that he obtained another powerful skill he could use; there was no need for him to get too greedy here.
He turned to the side to check on Qiao Xueying, only to notice that her face was extremely pale. So, he quickly rushed over and asked, “How is she doing?”
“I used my ki to stabilize her injuries for the time being, but she needs to get proper treatment as soon as possible.”
Zu An flicked the Tai’e Sword impatiently and said, “You went too far earlier.”
“The fact that she’s still breathing now should be enough to show that I’ve gone easy on her,” sneered Mi Li.
Zu An snorted in response before hurriedly pulling Qiao Xueying to his side in order to treat her, but Mi Li’s voice suddenly sounded at this moment.
“Are you intending to treat her with your Primordial Origin Sutra?”
“Indeed.” Zu An was confused as to why Mi Li was asking this question. “Is there a problem with that?”
“You won’t be able to do it. The first rank of the Primordial Origin Sutra tempers your body, the second rank purifies malevolent beings, the third rank cures all poison, and only at the fourth rank will you be able to treat others. You’re still lacking in your current state,” replied Mi Li.
Zu An was taken aback. “But didn’t I repair Chuyan’s ki meridians earlier on?”
Chu Chuyan’s face reddened upon hearing those words, and she quickly turned her head to the side awkwardly, feigning as if she wasn’t listening to their conversation.
Toward Zu An’s question, Mi Li replied, “That wasn’t a conventional treatment method. You were using the amalgamation of yin and yang along with your transcendent class aptitude as a medium in order to carry out the treatment, but surely you can’t be thinking of doing it with everyone else in order to save them? Putting all other concerns aside, what if your patient is a man?”
The thought of ramming into a man made Zu An shudder.
Why the hell would I want to treat a man? It goes without saying that I’ll only treat women! Bros, you shouldn’t blame me for being heartless, it’s just that… how can I bring myself to do it?!
“Besides, not all women would be willing to be saved by you in such a manner.” Mi Li shot a glance at Qiao Xueying. “Why don’t you try asking her then?”
Zu An turned to Qiao Xueying and asked, “Snow, we’re comrades who have braved through danger together. Don’t worry, I’ll definitely do everything I can to save you. Even if I have to squeeze out every single droplet I have, I’ll do so without any hesitation just so that…”
“Go to hell!” Qiao Xueying interjected furiously as she exerted all of the strength she had to push him away..
Chu Chuyan quickly rushed over to support Qiao Xueying before directing a glare at Zu An. “How can you joke around at a time like this?”
Zu An felt indignant. “All I wanted to do here is to save her! I mean, I’m even willing to deplete my blood essence for her!”
“…” Chu Chuyan.
“…” Qiao Xueying.
Black lines streaked across Mi Li’s face. “Time and time again, you renew my perception of how low a human can get.”
Zu An sighed deeply, lamenting how no one in the world could empathize with him. However, considering the fact that Qiao Xueying was indeed not in mortal danger at the moment, it would be inappropriate for him to do that with her.
That being said, it didn’t hinder him from muttering grudgingly, “Hmph, no wonder they say that ‘three monks won’t have water to drink’. If there aren’t the two other women by the side, Snow might have just succumbed there and then.”
It was then that the Tai’e Sword suddenly flew into the air and knocked hard on Chu Chuyan and Qiao Xueying’s nape, causing the two of them to collapse onto the ground.
Chu Chuyan was too busy taking care of Qiao Xueying and brooding over her changed relationship with Zu An that she was completely caught off guard from the attack. As for Qiao Xueying, she was simply too weakened to retaliate at all.
“What are you doing?!” Alarmed, Zu An bellowed at Mi Li. He quickly rushed forward to check on the two women’s condition, heaving a sigh of relief when he noticed that they were only unconscious.
“Kill them,” ordered Mi Li coldly.
“You’re sick in the mind!” retorted Zu An angrily.
“I know that you have a close relationship with them, but a bond between a man and woman is not something that can be relied on. You have revealed far too many secrets to the two of them, be it your transcendent class talent or the Primordial Origin Sutra… and if I’m not mistaken, you’ve practiced the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra too, right?” asked Mi Li.
Zu An was taken aback. He looked at Mi Li warily as he asked, “How do you know that?”
Mi Li chuckled softly with a hint of pride in her eyes as she replied, “Every time you get injured, your physical prowess would be enhanced greatly, be it your speed or your strength, allowing you to exert might far greater than your current cultivation rank. I’ve seen records relating to it during my time in the imperial palace, so it isn’t that difficult for me to fathom a guess.”
Zu An fell silent. This woman is simply far too powerful and knowledgeable. It won’t be easy to fool her in the future.
“However, there’s one thing I still don’t understand. The Phoenix Nirvana Sutra shouldn’t have the effect of invulnerability. Why was I unable to kill you earlier on?” Mi Li frowned deeply. Despite all of the books she had read in her time, there was nothing that could explain this baffling situation.
Zu An scratched his head awkwardly. The Heiress’ Ball of Delight was simply far too embarrassing of a tool that he swore that he would never speak of its existence to anyone else.
Fortunately, Mi Li didn’t probe deeper into this matter. “It matters not. I’ll eventually uncover your secrets in time to come anyway. In any case, you should understand how dangerous it would be for your secrets to be revealed. Be it the Primordial Origin Sutra or the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra, they are top-notch skills that even the strongest experts in the world coveted. On top of that, you should do well not to forget that you do possess transcendent class aptitude, and there are many old monsters who desire your flesh and meat.”
“Surely people wouldn’t really be so naive as to think that they would be able to achieve immortalhood by consuming the flesh of a transcendent class aptitude cultivator?” asked Zu An meekly.
“Even Ying Zheng was unable to resist the allure coming from the possibility of immortalhood back then, let alone the others.” Mi Li’s expression grew a little complicated when she mentioned Ying Zheng. “Those people have already reached the peak of the world, holding onto great authority and wealth in their hands. There’s nothing they lack in the world, and thus they are more fearful of death than anyone else.
“To them, as long as there was even a sliver of a chance of achieving immortalhood, they would have to give it a try. It was not as if they had anything to lose out of it. So, if they find out that you possess transcendent class aptitude, they would even go to the extent of grinding down your bones so as to swallow every single part of you.”
Zu An was horrified to hear Mi Li’s descriptions. He subconsciously replied, “But the two of them are the people closest to me at the moment. I don’t think that they would reveal it to others.”
“Ying Zheng was also the man closest to me back then, but did that hinder me from getting backstabbed by him?” replied Mi Li with a vicious edge in her voice. “Humans and feelings are the two most unreliable things in the world. Our fates are already tied together, so I can’t allow any harm to come to you. If you aren’t willing to make the move, I’ll silence them myself.”
The Tai’e Sword rose to the sky and prepared to execute the two women.
Shocked, Zu An quickly stepped in front of the two of them to protect them. “You can’t just deny all feelings in the world just because you have been betrayed in the past. Besides, if I were to kill two of the closest people to me over something like this, how would I be different from Ying Zheng then? Surely you wouldn’t want to live your life with a second Yiing Zheng, right?”
“Ying Zheng might be vicious, but he’s much more decisive and wiser than you are.” Despite her words, the Tai’e Sword slowly fell back to the ground.
“Wait a moment, why is the Tai’e Sword so heeding of your commands? Aren’t I supposed to be its real master?” exclaimed Zu An.
“That’s because its sword spirit is still in hibernation from the injuries it sustained back then. In some sort of way, you can think of me as a temporary sword spirit for the Tai’e Sword.”
“Oh? You’re the Tai’e Sword’s sword spirit now?” Zu An’s eyes lit up. “Shouldn’t you call me ‘master’ then?”
“…” Mi Li.
1. It’s actually a story about how an increase in personnel changes mindsets. When a monk is alone, he’s forced to carry the water for survival purposes. When there are two monks, they choose to split the workload equally even if it introduces inefficiency. When there are three monks, everyone thinks that the other two would do the work, and they end up getting lazy.